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Kwatek Nai TeloWoman's Ceremonial Sarong
The three-part tubular textile with uncut handspun warp threads is called kwatek nai telo and is essential to the gifts that accompany marriage. Kwatek nai rua or two-part textile is considered less valuable than the kwatek nai telo in this gift exchange. Textiles offered to the groom’s family by the bride’s clan are exchanged for elephant tusks which are held by clans dating back to about the 16th century.
With all of these tubular sarongs, the warp threads remain uncut symbolizing the bond and commitment to the community. These textiles are never worn. While many motifs reflect daily life, the center field is often inspired by Indian patola textiles, once the currency of the spice trade, held amongst a clan’s most sacred treasures.
As patola vary between clans, so do center field motifs: “My ancestors wove this,” says one weaver. “It’s the pattern I have the gift for.” The diamond pattern is inspired by Indian patola textiles. The patola textiles are held as a clan’s most sacred treasures. This motif will be used in both the centerfield and the bands.
This was one of the 12 original textiles that Threads of Life purchased from the Lamalera community when the idea of beginning Threads of Life was conceived in 1998. We used it as a way to understand the techniques and skill sets required to revive the art.
Warp ikat, three panels stitched together as tube, warp ends remain uncut, handspun cotton, natural dyes. Ikat tied, dyed by Fransiska Peni Tapoona, woven by Lusia Nula Kei in Lamalera, Lembata, 1960.
202 x 64 cm / 79.5 x 25 in
Textiles and Their Culture: Adonara Island | Bali Island | Flores Island | Java Island | Kalimantan Island | Lembata Island | Savu & Rai Jua Islands | Sulawesi Island | Sumba Island | Timor Island
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